Former National Party leader and Reserve Bank governor Don Brash has been nominated for New Zealander of the Year.
Dr Brash spoke at a University of Auckland debate last week on free speech. Massey University had previously cancelled his speaking event because of Facebook threats.
He has been nominated, along with fashion designer Annah Stretton, Team New Zealand's Peter Burling, former Green MP Sue Kedgley and mental health advocate Mike King.
Awards manager Glyn Taylor said the nominations reflected what New Zealanders were talking about and were interested in.
"Kiwis working hard to address critical social issues continue to feature prominently," he said.
"A particularly interesting nomination is that of Dr Don Brash, who has been at the forefront of the debate around freedom of speech that's dominated headlines in recent weeks."
Nominations for the annual awards close on 17 September, a shortlist of 10 candidates will be released in December, and the winner will be announced in February.
Previous winners include equal-pay advocate Kristine Bartlett and film maker Taika Waititi.
The Kiwibank New Zealander of Year nominations to date:
- Dr Don Brash (Auckland) - former National Party leader, free speech advocate
- Annah Stretton (Hamilton) - fashion designer, philanthropist and entrepreneur
- Peter Burling (Auckland) - Team New Zealand yachting skipper
- Sue Kedgley (Wellington) - former Greens MP, Wellington regional councillor
- Mike King (Auckland) - mental health advocate
- Dave Letele (Manurewa) - athlete and weight-loss coach
- Alan Halse (Hamilton) - director of Culturesafe NZ
- Mary O'Hagan (Wellington) - mental health innovator and advocate
- Simone Anderson (Auckland) - lifestyle influencer and weight-loss star